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Family Allowances

Volume 893: debated on Wednesday 11 June 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will list the circumstances in which the parent of a child is entitled to the tax allowance but is not entitled to family allowance.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 22nd May 1975; Vol. 892, c. 587], gave the following information:

The income tax child allowance is given to a parent broadly in respect of a child, including a stepchild and an adopted child, under the age of 16, and above that age if the child is receiving full-time instruction at a university, college, school or other educational establishment, or undergoing training for a trade, profession or vocation for at least two years. The allowance may also be claimed by someone, other than the parent, who has the custody of a child whom he or she maintains at his or her own expense. The child allowance is reduced £1 for £1 if the child's income exceeds £115 per annum.

It is given for an income tax year of assessment, whereas family allowances are weekly benefits and depend on the child's circumstances week by week. The child allowance, unlike family allowances, may be apportioned between claimants where, for example, the parents of a child are divorced or separated and each claims the allowance.

Family allowances are payable for families with two or more children, in respect of each child after the first. The children must be under school leaving age, but may count up to age 19 if in full-time education or apprentices with net earnings not exceeding £2 a week. A parent has overriding title in respect of a child living with him, or living elsewhere provided he is contributing not less than a prescribed amount towards the child's upkeep. Special provisions apply where the parents are permanently separated. Where no parent has title, family allowances may be paid to another person provided he is contributing not less than a prescribed amount towards the child's support and more than anyone else.

The most common circumstances in which income tax child allowances may be claimed but there may be no title to family allowances are:

  • 1. For the first or only child in a family.
  • 2. For children over age 19 who satisfy the test of being in full-time instruction, etc.; or who are undergoing a course of training for two years.
  • 3. For children in local authority care or in voluntary homes—in certain cases because parents fail to satisfy maintenance tests.
  • 4. For children in legal custody.
  • 5. For a child abroad for more than six months for other than educational or medical reasons.
  • 6. For children of a person coming to the United Kingdom who may become resident for income tax purposes before he satisfies the special residence tests for family allowances.
  • 7. For children of British subjects and certain other people resident abroad with income liable to United Kingdom income tax.